A ROW has erupted in a constituency Labour branch after it elected a white woman for its Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic forum.
On Saturday (6), East Ham’s Labour branch elected a white Irish woman, who identified erself as belonging to an ethnic minority. She was chosen instead of an Asian woman who also campaigned for the role.
East Ham CLP’s secretary, Syed Taqi Shah, told The Newham Recorder that no one at the meeting objected to the white woman being elected.
However, on being asked if she would be able to identify with the experience of BAME people, he added: “I don’t know how Irish people are treated in this country. Are they still being threatened?
“East Ham CLP is open minded and willing to work with all people. If somebody self-declares [as BAME], and the Labour Party allows them to do so, they should be respected,” he said.
The election of a white woman has raised concern among some in the party.
Member Zita Holbourne told HuffPost UK that it is “of great concern that somebody who is white has stood for any post at a BAME Forum, let alone got elected.”
She said the result was “not acceptable for a white member of Labour to occupy a position in a structure expected to be a safe space and a self organised space for BAME people.”
Member Donna Guthrie noted: “Black activists are being made to sit at the back of the bus in our own networks.
“That a white British woman could think it acceptable to stand, let alone be elected, is telling of the state of race relations in the local Labour Party where there is now no African or Caribbean representation amongst constituency officer positions.”